Findings from a cost model suggest that expenses for systemic psoriasis therapy appear to be increasing at a faster rate than inflation, and newer biologically derived treatments are more expensive than traditional systemic therapies, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 4.5 million to 7.5 million Americans, costing the health care industry approximately more than $3 billion annually, according to background information in the article. The severity of the disease varies, as do the therapiessome patients with mild, localized disease can use creams or other topical agents, whereas those with more extensive disease typically require phototherapy (exposure to ultraviolet light) or systemic therapies (substances that travel through the bloodstream, such as oral medications).
Vivianne Beyer, M.D., now at St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, and Stephen E. Wolverton, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, constructed a cost model to analyze the current total cost of systemic therapy for psoriasis. Costs for each therapy were assessed by using the average wholesale price of each drug, as paid by third-party payers, and costs of related office visits, laboratory tests and related monitoring procedures were determined using Medicare fee schedules. Trends were analyzed by calculating the change in average wholesale price from the previous year and then were compared to the Consumer Price Index for urban areas.
"Current total and annual costs for systemic psoriasis therapies ranged from $1,197 (methotrexate [a traditional systemic therapy]) to $27,577 (alefacept [a biologic], two 12-week courses)," the authors write. Costs for phototherapy ranged from $3,083 to $7,288; for biologics, from $18,384 to $27,577.
"Trends in the average wholesale price of brand-name psoriasis
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